I hear you, you’ve been watching my Instagram Stories and it’s been all skirts and dresses and they’re definitely not wedding related! What is going on? Well, let me tell you!
Dressember is an international campaign to aid the fight against sex trafficking and slavery. Every year, thousands of advocates around the world take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress or tie during the 31 days of December, all to start conversations about, increase awareness of, and raise money for the cause. Dresses plus December equals Dressember!
Where does the money go?
When you donate to Dressember, you are giving to strategic anti-trafficking grants that provide their partners with the funds to rescue, protect, and restore the lives of trafficking victims across the world. Funds raised through Dressember provide the means to create and build victim relief programs that make a lasting impact. There are details at www.dressember.org
Why is Events on 6th participating?
In mid-November, Dressember interviewed me (Lesley, the venue manager) as part of a planned blog feature; they were focusing on why various advocates wanted to join Dressember. They ended up not using it, so I wanted to give you the scoop! Here’s the interview:
You mentioned in your fundraising biography that you heard about Dressember from a friend. You also mentioned that you don’t often wear dresses except to dress up. Can you give more detail as to what inspired and motivated you to join Dressember this year?
It was so many little things all finally coming together; eventually the timing was perfect!
A friend at church did Dressember in 2015; I donated something and thought how tough it would be to wear a dress every day. Another friend wore a bracelet that had something to do with fighting slavery, but I never looked into it more. I run a wedding venue and nearby are two wedding dress shops that support charities, with one specifically supporting the fight against sex trafficking. All those things were on my radar.
Meanwhile at work I get to see people on their happiest day, but also homeless people hanging out around the building, and I just don’t know the best way to handle that. Just giving people cheese sticks and making them leave doesn’t solve anything; I’m always wondering what sort of program I’d put in place to solve it all.
This year was also my 20th wedding anniversary, so I’m busy thinking about big picture things in life! Then I saw my Dressember friend wearing a dress again and thought to look at the website to check it out. It turned out to be a few days before the October opening registration and signing up felt like the right thing to do. I was impressed with how organized it all looked, and how Dressember is taking on the fundraising for the various groups so they can focus on what they do best. It just fit with everything I’d been thinking about!
I’d love to also hear more background as to why you decided to “start” Dressember earlier by doing your own ‘Skirtvember’! What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you as you participate in two months of only skirts and dresses?
I know my first challenging thought was ‘ugh, how am I going to wear a dress every day?’ I have a few that I love for parties and big dress up events, but the everyday dresses I just never pull out to wear because I struggle with styling them. Summer dresses are ok, because I can just put on the dress and I’m done, but winter rainy season means I have to figure out jackets, and tights, and shoes....Hello, Pacific Northwest winter!
Skirts seemed like they’d be easier, and as I went through my closet looking for dresses there were more and more skirts. I kept wishing I could just wear those....and it dinged that why not, I could!
What will you do to keep yourself motivated to wear skirts and dresses throughout November and December?
So far it has been fun to go through my closet and force myself to wear things I never seem to wear. In November, I made more than one outfit from each skirt, and the challenge of that helped. I like the idea of reducing consumption by using what I have...while I love supporting the creative people who design clothes, I think I should also use the things I choose before buying more.
My sisters are more stylish than I and are usually dressed up and pulled together, so I look to them for inspiration. I’ve had fun knowing they are checking in on my outfits everyday and we do phone each other or message to talk about clothes and other things so that’s fun.
Also, my grandma who lived to 96 always wore dresses and skirts and I like to think about her as I am doing this. My grandma passed down a love of thrifting clothes to my mom and my sisters and me; she was so great about finding deals and enjoying her clothes! While I don’t mind spending money on really beautiful, well-made things, I like to follow her lead to reduce and reuse clothing through thrifting. My closet is mostly thrift, consignment, ThredUp, or sisterly cast-offs.
Why is being an advocate important to you?
Even though so far it’s been mostly fun, I know it’s more than the dress (or skirt). There are people with no choices about their lives, so even though I have the luxury of self-imposing this restriction, each day I have to wear the skirt, each day I have to wear the dress, I can feel a little closer to that person. I know I can never imagine what they are going through, but I hope that when they are freed, they would be happy people are fighting for them even in a fun way.
The homeless people around my building are struggling and vulnerable, and the teenagers are more likely to be drawn into an even worse situation. I like analyzing problems and figuring out the big systems that will fix them and I think Dressember has figured out a great way to partner with groups working to solve big problems and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Thank you so much! And don’t worry, it’s all weddings all the time coming soon! :)
Want to poke around more on this site? Check out the main page which has a beautiful video of the venue, or just more photos. Enjoy!